The Los Angeles Lakers made a big splash in the post-Kevin Durant trade market by trading for Patrick Beverley from the Utah Jazz. The Lakers didn't have to give up any of their picks but parted with young prospect Talen Horton-Tucker and forward Stanley Johnson.
Prior to the move, there were heaps of questions around what the Lakers were intending to do to improve their roster ahead of training camp for the 2022-23 season. Everybody has been hanging onto moves that include moving Russell Westbrook even though the Lakers acquire PatBev without moving Russ. Sadly, LA trading for Beverley means the chapter for Russ may be over.
Jeanie Buss had hinted towards the same being a possibility in an interview she did with GQ prior to the trade being announced yesterday. In the same interview, Buss spoke about the Lakers' 2022-23 season outlook. She spoke about the stars Anthony Davis and LeBron James, but then defaulted to talking about Kendrick Nunn's return, with no mention of Westbrook.
"We changed coaches, so that’s a new voice. And we are continuing to, hopefully, stay injury-free. We want to see Anthony Davis stay on the floor and be healthy the whole season. And when you have Anthony and LeBron, there’s a lot of great things that can happen. But you have to have a supporting cast of players that can fill roles and also stay injury free. We have Kendrick Nunn coming back after missing last season, and a lot of young players that…I can name names, but until we see how they play there really isn’t…we have to give Darvin Ham all of the time and resources he needs to put the team together to see how they move forward." (h/t GQ)
The acquisition of Beverley and these comments may signify that the Lakers are planning for a future without Russ, with some interesting trade options open for the guard.
The Lakers could deal Russ to either Indiana, Utah, or Charlotte. While they don't have a superstar player like Kyrie Irving, moves with these teams to add depth may be coming sooner rather than later for the Lakers.